the view through the windshield
1938 Lincoln Zephyr ... With A Grille That Inspired Imitators

For 1938, Lincoln did a facelift of the Zephyr. The front end restyle included a low profile, horizontal twin grille which inspired many imitators and set a new styling trend. Just look at the 1940 Chevrolet or 1939 Buick and you'll spot the Zephyr influence. A convertible sedan and convertible coupe were also added to the Zephyr line.

On the inside, the instrument panel was redesigned and the interior seats were revised with the exposed metal seat frames eliminated for a more modern look. 1938 Zephyrs rode on a three inch longer wheelbase - now 125 inches for better riding comfort and more interior room. Lincoln Zephyrs were now 210 inches long. Ironically, people often think of the Zephyr as a small Lincoln, but its overall length was just a few inches shy of the 1998 Town Car.

Zephyrs weighed in at 3,300 to 3,700 pounds, depending on the model, and were powered by the L-head V-12 engine which still displaced 267 cubic inches. With a 6.7 to 1 compression ratio and two-barrel carb, it made 110 horsepower.

Described by collectors as a 1939 model, this Dinky Lincoln Zephyr three-window coupe looks more like a '38 model to me, with its shorter split grille. This gray-colored pre-WWII model (this toy was produced between 1939 and 1950) is quite valuable today.
On the lower level of my O-gauge model train layout is a cream-colored Matchbox Yesteryear 1938 Lincoln Zephyr convertible in 1:43 scale. It is just behind a green and black Frobly 1932 Ford V8 Victoria which is partly hidden behind a a Lionel Hiawatha locomotive.

The economy in 1938 was not very good; sales of luxury and near-luxury cars were down. Only 19,111 Zephyrs were sold in the '38 model year - that doesn't sound very good but Zephyr actually sold more cars than LaSalle. The convertible coupe shown in the sketch was one of 600 made. In 1951, the Museum of Modern Art gave a special design award to the '38 Zephyr. (posted 1/31/14)

Remember When: 1938
auto blogIn 1938, Orson Wells' Halloween eve radio broadcast of War of the Worlds terrified the nation when listeners thought that Martians had really attacked the Earth.

Hitler absorbed Austria into his Nazi empire.

Several automakers offered steering column gear shift controls which effectively increased front seat room. Buick offered the first electric turn signals. Pierce Arrow went out of business.

Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan flew from New York and landed in Ireland instead of Los Angeles. Howard Hughes circled the globe in under four days, setting a new record.

Fads included bingo, chain letters, saddle shoes and zoot suits. Several new products were introduced, including Nescafe instant coffee and Fiberglas. Teflon was invented in 1938. Superman debuted in Action Comics #1.

New songs included 'A Tisket, A Tasket', 'I'll Be Seeing You' and 'God Bless America'. Several significant movies made their debut in 1938: 'Love Finds Andy Hardy', 'Boys Town' and 'Bringing Up Baby'.

Deaths included lawyer Clarence Darrow, tire magnate Harvey Firestone and novelist Thomas Wolfe.

The New York Yankees won the '38 World Series, defeating the Chicago Cubs.

copyright 2012-20 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved.
Drawing copyright 1995 Joseph M. Sherlock. All rights reserved.


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